Armstrong Redwoods Reserve + Sonoma Coast Snapshots

Main, Visit

One day I might convince myself to leave the kids home so Chris and I can enjoy a vacation solo. But while they are this young and full of wonder, they join us just about everywhere. There is a famous quote by St. Augustine I keep in the back of my mind. In case you haven’t heard it:”The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” If this is true than I want my girls to read books on books on books! With loads of trips around the Southeastern US and last month, 10 days in California, I think they are off to a good start.  I am finally finishing up organizing pictures from the epic trip we took last month. We covered a lot of territory (even with record rainfall) so rather than one massive post, I’m doing several smaller ones and going in backwards order. Enjoy!

Scenic drive from Napa to San Fran

The last full day of our trip was spent taking a long scenic drive out of Napa Valley, driving along the Russian River, stopping at the Armstrong Redwoods Reserve and then winding around the Sonoma Coastline. The views we saw that day were some I will never forget and it was the perfect way to wrap up a very memorable family vacation. In full disclosure, I feel a bit guilty and insensitive even posting about our trip as much of the area is recovering from catastrophic flooding. It made me so sad to see such a beautiful part of our country completely underwater, a part of our country that apparently suffers from either not enough rainfall or far too much. We saw multiple vineyards completely submerged, gorgeous huge trees uprooted, and campsites whose travelers had fled to higher ground leaving their things behind. Even with the flooding though, this part of California was still full of beauty, and you have to admire the residents’ resilience.


The picnic benches we stopped at were a bit cold and wet so we set up shop on the back of the car with apples, cheeses, meats from a local grocery, and some dessert from the famous Bouchon Bakery.

IMG_5868Grace was very into the creek running through the park. She loves the sight of any form of water, even a simple puddle!IMG_5894IMG_5895Pictures don’t really do the Redwood trees justice. These majestic trees make you feel as if you are in some sort of fairy tale – huge, ancient and a bit eerie. Because of their size, the entire park feels very cold and damp, and you can only see little bits of the sky peeking through the top. Several trees had hollows at the bottom taller than Chris! After our car picnic, we walked around the reserve for a little while, marveling at the trees, then hopped back into the car to head to the beach.

IMG_2310Breathtaking views of the coastline. Chris and I had no idea how beautiful this would be.  What we found really unique about this coastline is on one side of the road are these rocky beaches and the other are mountains full of bright green pastures, meadows, roaming farm animals, etc. How neat would it be to live in the country and on the ocean at the same time? Sign me up! Thankfully the girls napped then entire drive, so we were able to drive slow and get out a few times to take it all in.


Then we stopped at Doran Beach near Bodega Bay to let the girls play. I think our short time playing at the beach was Grace’s favorite part of the entire trip. The beach brings out the best in kids. Grace found a cup and some sea shells and escaped into her own world of running around and playing in the (very muddy and dark!) sand, not phased by the cooler temperatures at all.

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I’m not really a bucket list person. I guess that’s because if I had one, it would be to do everything, ha! See every country, swim in every body of water, read every book, etc. I just try to make the most of each day and every opportunity. I do have some traditions, however. One being that I try to go swimming wherever I travel. I have an intense love of the ocean and I feel more connected to a place once I have taken a swim in its waters. So, even though the Pacific in February is frigid, I am happy to report that I can now add the Pacific Ocean to my list of major bodies of water I’ve swam in! The others are:

  • Aegean Sea in Turkey
  • Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina and South Carolina
  • Gulf of Mexico in the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Florida
  • Caribbean Sea while in Jamaica and Honduras
  • Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt

IMG_5919Grace is fortunately a very happy child (for the most part). It’s easy to get a smile, a hello or a hug out of her. But at the beach this day, she was REALLY happy. At one point she was just running around with her arms out, screaming with pure joy. I never want to forget that sight and I just had to take a photo of it. She was so free and happy and it was all totally on her own. I had just swam in the Pacific, which she was very excited to see (yet didn’t want to get near the water herself), Chris was holding Charlotte, and I was thinking how lucky I was to have this little family of mine to go through life with. Hope you enjoyed these snapshots…more to come and thanks for reading. -Addie



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